Simple arithmetic leads to happiness?

Cover of "Gremlins"
Cover of Gremlins

Naw, couldn’t be.  That’s ridiculous, you say? I agree, must be some Gremlin who came in the middle of the night to post as me…

Maybe it was the brainy one from Gremlins 3…

However, even if it was someone pretending to be me as they wrote the title, I can’t say they were wrong.

After doing some simple mathematics I realized, if the trend continues, that in 90 days, give or take 10 in either direction, I can be done with the first draft of book two….


Naw, that isn’t right.  It took me 4 years to write the first draft of book one, why only 90 days this time?  To be honest, this is the best case scenario.  A lot of things have to go right in order for it to happen.

  1. I have to write every day
  2. I have to write 1000 words or more for each of those days
  3. I have to make sure I don’t turn on anything but my computer and my music.  No TV, no movie, not even YouTube or Facebook – let’s make it any social media and call it good shall we?  Smack my hand if I do (preferably not on the scrape the garage door gave me please).

Seems simple when you type it up like that doesn’t?  LOL, I wish.  No, reality has to step in as a reminder.  Here is a list of what stands in the way:

  1. Sleep – I can’t sacrifice sleep for my book, unless I want a daily dose of migraines – which I don’t – so I must sleep.
  2. Work – I also must work, not only because the kids want to do stuff like soccer, eating, getting dressed, but also because the bills need to be paid, I need to eat, and let’s not forget the dogs.  So work I must in something that pays reliably.
  3. Health – To be honest, no one can have absolute control of their health, plus migraines, means that I can’t control what will happen.
  4. Kids – Kids, by their nature, are not 100% predictable (thank goodness!).  That means despite best intentions, from time to time, something might come up.
  5. Life – It is as it does.  I’ve learned that you can’t control what happens.  I’ve also learned that I like it that way.  With that said, it has a high potential of getting in my way.

Oh, I know, I know.  The list doesn’t even out.  Three things that have to happen with five things likely to prevent it.  Perhaps my math skills need some refreshing?  Ah, but we have to make compensations.  Instead of saying that I will write 1000 words every day, let us say that I will write 1000 words at least during the week while on the weekend I give my writing bone a break and let two of those five do it’s worst.

Now, let’s see how long it could take to write a book….

My genre is suspense/thriller and the usual word count for that is: 70K to 90K approximately (don’t go over 100K is my rule).

google lego calendar
google lego calendar (Photo credit: keso)

I have already 24K done and for a first draft I aim for the high level of the genre expectations, which in this case is 90K.  Leaving me with a grand total left to write of:  66K.  With my daily limit, that means I could be done in 66 days.

Or 13 weeks plus 2 days change.  Based on this, I could be done by the end of July (remember, I’m taking weekends off).  Whoo hoo!!!

…. With that said, I’m going to leave open the possibility that during the week something is going to happen so instead I’ll set my deadline to be the end of August.  Give me some breathing room to accomplish other tasks after the kids go to bed and no TV.

And that is how simple arithmetic leads to happiness for me.  If I can stick to it, but I have faith that I will.

Now it’s your turn.  Here’s the formula:

a = your usual and least word count goal.

b = the top point of your genre’s word count.  For a good guide go HERE.

c = how many days a week you can write.  Like, in my case, the word days.  If you can do it every day then use 7.

(b/a)/c = the amount of time it will take you to write your book from word one.  That’s your low point, add a month to the figure and you have your high point.

… Now, tell me what you got.  🙂

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7 thoughts on “Simple arithmetic leads to happiness?

  1. This post is just what I needed. Maybe it’s my fear of math that has prevented me from forming a beautiful plan like you’ve drawn up. Oh, AND that darn list of things that get in the way! I’ll read this a few more times. 🙂

    • Glad to hear it reached out to more than just me. Sometimes I think the overall project of the word novel tends to start the nervous shakes. In reality, it’s only a number. Granted, a big number, but break it down and now it’s not so much.

      It has great significance beyond writing, I think, but it also can appeal to any major project in our lives.

  2. The reason why the arithmetic works so beautifully is that most of the time when we have big projects to do, we see them as big projects, and it keeps us from making steady progress, because we’re looking for BIG progress. You have figured out that if you write a certain amount (the 1000) words on a regular basis, it adds up. That’s the magic of arithmetic–it always adds up. 🙂

    Yes, things can get in the way, but if we miss a day or two because of life or any of its subset categories, it’s much easy to catch up from a 2000 word deficit, then an overwhelming sense of 100,000 words that have to to be done over the next 6 months. Dividing it into bite-sized pieces makes it possible to maintain.

    Congrats to you!

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